Leonardo DiCaprio has defended his latest project The Wolf of Wall Street against critics saying that he feels very proud of the film.

Many critics have praised DiCaprio's performance and Martin Scorsese's directing but there has been a wave of criticism about the film's subject matter as it focuses on the notorious Wall Street broker Jordan Belfort, with many feeling it isn't right to glamourise that part of American history.

Speaking to HitFix DiCaprio said, "I think that at least the attempt going into it was to try to do something really outside of the box and I think Marty (Scorsese) had the same approach. In that regard I feel very proud of this performance. I think we took a lot of chances, and no matter what people think of the movie, we swung for the fences on this one.

"I keep referencing Caligula but you think about Scarface - films like that, I don't know how people are going to react to it right off the bat, but I think as the years roll by people will appreciate what we were trying to do here."

The actor explained that by making the film they are not condoning Belfort's behaviour, "The unique thing about Marty is that he doesn't judge his characters. And that was something that you don't quite understand while you're making the movie, but he allows the freedom of this almost hypnotic, drug-infused, wild ride that these characters go on. And he allows you, as an audience - guilty or not - to enjoy in that ride without judging who these people are.

"I mean ultimately I think if anyone watches this movie, at the end of Wolf of Wall Street they're going to see that we're not at all condoning this behaviour. In fact we're saying that this is something that is in our very culture and it needs to be looked at and it needs to be talked about."

The Wolf of Wall Street is set for release on January 17.